When we produce health films dealing with a specific illness or medical condition, it is quite often the desired result to portray those affected as ‘ordinary people’ who, with the correct care and treatment, can lead ‘ordinary lives’. This approach also enables the viewing audience to better relate to those featured in the film and therefore a stronger, and more successful, message is communicated.
Where there are several people identified for filming, research and planning ensures that a variety of what are considered everyday activities is represented. Our production team discuss each person’s lifestyle and determines what shots will work best for them and for the overall shape of the programme.
Sometimes, no amount of pre-production ground work can prepare you for what is going to happen…
For a shoot we had scheduled in Northampton, we had originally struggled a great deal to find ‘ordinary’ activities to film for one guy. Despite being in good health his days of playing cricket, going camping weekends and meeting his friends in the pub for a drink and a game of pool had been put on hold for the time being as he and his wife had a newborn baby. That’s okay, we thought, we shall film family life. The couple also had a four year-old daughter to provide an endless supply of family activities we could film.
As our crew were approaching the outskirts of Northampton, our man phoned us to say that he would very much like to go ahead with filming but his wife had decided to take their two daughters for a weekend away to her parents’ house. What? The production team had already explored every other possible avenue for filming, and established there was nothing, and so a little panic, nervous giggling and occasional expletive broke out amongst our advancing film crew.
To this day we have no idea why but as we turned the corner into their housing estate we were greeted by the beautiful image of a man standing at the front door of his house welcoming his wife and children back into their family home.
We didn’t ask. We just exhaled a massive sigh of relief and reinstated the day’s filming schedule from its position as a crumpled-up ball of paper on the car floor.
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